With the Thunder’s leading MVP candidate Paul George out with right shoulder soreness, as well as two powerful centers like Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic for the 76ers out, Thursday night’s matchup was already lacking star power and key players, but 48 minutes later and only five lead changes, the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a 19-game losing streak against the Thunder and took the 108-104 win over OKC for the first time since 2008.
Billy Donovan and the Thunder announced Paul George’s absence from the game hours before tipoff, and Donovan spoke on George’s injury saying he was being evaluated and treated, and the injury happened during Tuesday night’s battle against the Nuggets in Denver where the Thunder fell 121-112.
Markieff Morris stepped into the starting lineup in place of George, and with his blooming confidence and understanding of his new role in Oklahoma City, Morris finished with 17 points on 7-12 shooting in 19 minutes of playing time.
Russell Westbrook and Jerami Grant performed as a power duo picking up 23 points a piece and combining for 17 rebounds. Grant spoke on finding his shots during his postgame presser after a night he was almost able to surpass his career high of 23.
“I’m just trying to play the game,” Grant said. “I take whatever the game gives me. I have my teammates set me up, and that’s what I do.”
Tobias Harris for the Sixers was lethal from the floor and behind the arc going 11-19 on the night, 5-7 from the 3-point line, and leading Philly to the win with 32 points.
The Thunder were able to close in on a 16-point deficit in the third quarter, but allowing players like Harris, Mike Scott, who had crucial 3’s when the Sixers needed them most, and Jimmy Butler to get hot toward the end of regulation, the Thunder couldn’t close out falling to the Sixers for the first time in more than a decade.
OKC will fall to 38-23 with a third straight loss as the team prepares to head to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Saturday night before returning to Oklahoma City for the second night of a back-to-back hosting the Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Watch below for full postgame pressers in the Postgame Wrap-up from Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schröder, Markieff Morris, and Jerami Grant.